2nd Lt. Jean Claude Seyoboka says is poor and cannot afford to pay a lawyer

Nyamirambo Military Court has postponed trial of recently extradited Second Lt Jean Claude Seyoboka after he rejected a lawyer provided to assist him pro bono or for free.

Seyoboka who was extradited from Canada on December 17 is accused of Genocide crimes he committed in Nyarugenge district – city of Kigali when he was a Second Lieutenant in the Rwandan army . The government he worked for, planned and executed the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.

Upon arrival, he was given a one Albert Nkundabatware, a lawyer who assisted him during preliminary hearing, which is a right every deportee or extradited person has to enjoy back in Rwanda.

While appearing in Nyarugenge military court on Friday, the suspect said he is poor and cannot afford to pay for a lawyer – he was given Channy Uwimana, a new lawyer by the bar association which appointed her to assist Seyoboka pro bono.

Seyoboka claimed that prior to his extradition, Rwanda signed an agreement with Canada that back home he would be provided with an attorney who would be paid by the government.

The court told Seyoboka, that Rwanda only can pay for a lawyer for a suspect whose case started from abroad and then referred to Rwanda. His case being an extradition, he was told the minimum he can be allowed, is to have a lawyer willing to defend him free of charge.

This mechanism is already there; the bar association has always helped suspects who do not have a paid lawyer, said the prosecution, but Seyoboka declined the attorney he was given. He is just buying time.

The court postponed the hearing and ordered Seyoboka to collect evidences on Rwanda – Canada agreement on his case.

Court hearing will resume on January 27th.